Productive Counting

We are just over a week away from counting the Omer—a fifty day count from Passover to the holiday of Shavuot—commemorating the journey the Jews traversed from Egyptian slavery to becoming a nation with the Torah as its religious covenant. This year we will again look at the fifty day count as a step program for learning to be fully present. In particular, present awareness is leaving behind the constraints of the past (which is different than ignoring the past). We will start the count on the second night of Passover and spend seven weeks working on living in the present by letting go of or altering our relationship with emotions and behaviors mired in the past that constrain (enslave) us. Next week I will suggest some of the basic emotions that constrain us as symbolized by the foods we place on the Seder plate and Passover table.


As is traditional in Passover preparation we are examining our dwellings for chamtez—Hebrew for leavened products–which we remove from our premises. There is the actual foodstuff that contains leavened products and then there are those aspects of self that weigh us down.  If you have been holding onto a counterproductive emotion since last Passover then it is solid gold chametz.


In order to release ourselves from the counterproductive—we will count productively. This week begins the examination. The night before Passover we will go room to room by candle or flashlight looking for ‘crumbs’ of leavened products we may have missed in the light of day. That is the work of next week. This week identify the glaring aspects of yourself that suggest change. Perhaps it is an attachment to something physical, a character trait that is now engrained, a guilt that is unresolved or not valuing yourself enough. Identify, admit and examine. Take it now as far as you can in the light of day.

David Sanders

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